SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants is hugged by Andres Torres #56 after he pitched a no-hitter during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on July 13, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
After the 7th inning of their game against the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy asked starting pitcher Tim Lincecum how his arm was feeling. Lincecum was nearing his career-high of 138 pitches.
"I felt pretty good going out there every inning," said Lincecum.
Exactly what Bochy wanted to hear, because taking Tim out was the last thing he wanted to do.
Lincecum eventually threw 148 pitches, the last one a Yonder Alonso flyout to left field, to complete his first career no-hitter in the Giants' 8-0 win.
"It's pretty surreal for me just to be a part of that," said Lincecum after getting a champagne salute from his team mates in the clubhouse. "I've obviously gotten to see a couple with Jonathan (Sanchez) and (Matt) Cain's perfect game, but, to be in the middle of it is a little different, so I think I'm still kind of pinching myself right now."
Lincecum struck out 13 Padres, walked four and hit one with a pitch. The Padres have lost 14 of their last 15 games.
Lincecum had plenty of cushion because his offense beat up on San Diego starter Edinson Volquez. Several MLB teams had scouts in the stands evaluating Volquez, who is likely available in a trade. They didn't get a real good show.
Volquez gave up eight runs on nine hits in five innings. He threw 107 pitches, a massive amount for that short an outing.
Hunter Pence drove in five runs on the night, three of them on a bases-loaded triple in the 5th inning that put the Giants up 7-0. After that, The Freak was able to settle in and go about his business.
Pence also contributed with a stellar defensive play to preserve the no-hitter. With two outs in the 8th inning, Alexi Amarista smacked a sinking liner to right field. Pence charged and made a sliding catch just inches about the grass to end the inning.
"That was really special," said Lincecum. "To be honest with you I thought that was a hit off the bat. But, Hunter comes flying in out of nowhere and makes the Superman catch, so, that was awesome."
Just one inning earlier, 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval made a great play to steal a hit from Jesus Guzman. Sandoval dove down the line and got Guzman by a step to end the 7th.
Lincecum knows he has a couple of big thank-you's to hand out.
"I might go take them out for dinner or something like that, that would be good."
It was the 8th time the Padres have been no-hit (and they remain the only franchise in baseball that has never thrown one), but this was the first no-hitter thrown at Petco Park.
It's the 15th no-hitter in Giants history and the 259th in Major League Baseball history.
The man whose nickname is "The Freak" has won a pair of Cy Young awards, two World Series rings, and now has a no-hitter on his resume. He's not the same pitcher he was three years ago, but Tim Lincecum proved he still has the ability to do something special.